Questions have been raised over whether all NSW drivers will be able to access a $60 toll cap, which formed one of Labor’s key election promises before winning government in March.
Appearing in budget estimates on Thursday, Roads Minister John Graham was asked multiple times whether all drivers in NSW with a Linkt or E-Toll account would be able to access the cap; however, he declined to answer.
“What we’ll make clear is how drivers can register and all these arrangements close to the time. We’ve got some time,” he said.
“We’re expecting a Service NSW-style engagement … with drivers.”
While he said the program was “on track” for the January 1 rollout, he said more details would come in the next few weeks.
“We indicated in the election, after some of these issues were raised, that there would be audits, there would be careful administration around the scheme,” he said.
“And I’ll be outlining those to the public in detail prior to the first of January.”
Under the government’s $561m policy, slated to come into effect on January 1, the cap would be administered through a quarterly refund that drivers could claim if they spent more than $60 a week on toll roads.
It’s estimated about 720,000 would be stand to benefit from the scheme.
Opposition roads spokeswoman Natalie Ward accused the government of breaking a key election promise.
“Labor blew the budget on this policy, and now they are walking back their promise,” she said.
“It is a simple question, will every driver benefit from the scheme or is this another broken promise from Labor?”
Mr Graham was also criticised for Labor’s decision to increase costs on the state-owned Sydney Harbour Bridge and Tunnel toll roads for the first time in 14 years.
In September, prices for peak travel increased by 6.8 per cent, from $4 to $4.27. Off-peak charges increased from $3 to $3.20, and $2.50 to $2.67 for night-time usage.
The minister said he felt it was a “fair” decision compared with the cost increases administered to other privately owned toll roads, such as the M2, M4 and M5.
“I did feel it was fair that this was the one toll that could increase and of course, as you know, we’ve committed to toll revenue from the Harbour Bridge in the Harbour Tunnel (to) going back into toll relief,” he said.
Mr Graham’s office was contacted for comment.
Originally published as NSW Roads Minister refuses to answer whether all drivers eligible for $60 toll cap